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Steve MacDonald to Head Licensing at A+E Networks Group

Steve MacDonald has been named president, global content licensing and international, said Paul Buccieri, president, A+E Networks Group, to whom he will report.

In this new role, MacDonald will oversee A+E’s global multiplatform and library content licensing initiatives, as well as the company’s international activities.

“MacDonald is a highly accomplished sales executive who has been a major force behind many of the most innovative and revenue-rich media content transactions in the entertainment industry,” said Buccieri in a statement. “His innate talent for unearthing revenue potential within media assets is the precise skill we require as we continue to evolve our company.”

MacDonald joins A+E Networks from Twentieth Television, where most recently he was executive VP, general sales manager, basic cable with oversight of broadcast syndication as well. He directed Twentieth Television’s revenue growth strategy, driving content licensing sales for the domestic off-net syndication distribution of sitcoms, dramas, reality, original programs and library product. Additionally, he oversaw the premiere feature film and library window sales.

MacDonald departed Twentieth Television, which was owned by 21st Century Fox, after Disney completed its acquisition of the overall company in March. MacDonald and Buccieri worked together when Buccieri headed program development for Twentieth in the early 2000s.

At Twentieth, MacDonald worked on such deals as selling Family Guy to TBS and Adult Swim as well as releasing it on DVD, a syndication deal that ultimately proved so successful that the animated series was revived on Fox.

He also negotiated a deal with USA Networks to preemptively acquire the Twentieth Century Fox Television-produced Modern Family in 2010 for $1.5 million an episode, even though Modern Family didn’t premiere in syndication until fall 2013.

He also worked to free up cable rights for The Simpsons in order for Fox to take that show to the open market, where it ultimately ended up on FXX, and more recently, Disney+. Through most of The Simpsons’ broadcast syndication run, it was a cash-only broadcast-exclusive deal.

Patrick Vien, recently named group managing director, international; and Mark Garner, executive VP, content licensing and business development, will both report to MacDonald.